Many people asked 2 On Your Side how the Bills players were able to make it home while there was a travel ban in place.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — When video of the Buffalo Bills players arriving at their cars after landing in Rochester following their Christmas Eve game was shared, many people questioned how the Bills were allowed to travel home during a travel ban.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz had an answer for this question asked by 2 On You Side’s Dave McKinley on Wednesday, but they were not.
“They were not allowed to travel,” Poloncarz told McKinley.
The Bills reportedly asked the Erie County Sheriff’s Office for an escort as well but were told no because there was a driving ban in place.
“I don’t want anyone to think that Erie County gave preferential treatment to the Bills,” Poloncarz said.
Sheriff’s Office deputies are still assisting in the efforts to clean up following the storm, and when the Bills landed in Rochester on Sunday they were engaged in life-saving efforts.
Poloncarz also clarified that the Bills players are not considered essential workers.
“As much as they’re essential for our mental health when they win, they are not essential workers,” Poloncarz said.
That is not the only thing Poloncarz clarified at the briefing on Wednesday. He also said that the National Guard was not in the city to ticket drivers, unlike what had been reported erroneously on social media by the county on Tuesday.
The National Guard was in place to control traffic coming into the city so efforts to clean the streets could continue with fewer obstacles.
Poloncarz also said that people would not be charged for the cost of towing their vehicle during the storm, that is a cost that the county will be absorbing.
Channel 2 has reached out to the Bills for comment and the team gave us this statement:
“We want to thank all the first responders and everyone in the community who have done such an amazing job during this unprecedented storm. County Executive Mark Poloncarz and his team, Mayor Byron Brown, and Governor Kathy Hochul have all been real heroes during these times. We’re thankful for having them in this community and having them serve as our leaders. We made the very difficult decision to come back during Christmas Day because we had 150-plus people in our traveling party who wanted to be with their families. It was a decision strictly for that. We tried to do it as safely as possible. We made sure that we were not diverting any resources needed in any part of our community. We did not ask for nor did we receive an escort from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. We were in constant communication not only with them as well as other agencies throughout Western New York from the day we left for Chicago Thursday until the day we returned. Our organization’s focus is now on identifying the areas most in need and helping our community recover.” — Bills EVP/COO Ron Raccuia